Surrounded by Madness: The Symbolic Cultural Cannibalism

By Damien Knight

Is it honourable to follow tradition or is tradition a restriction of self? I am going to go over how the good life might not be honouring tradition. It is possible it is not the good life but a cannibalism of our self as depicted in the allegorical tale “Diary of a Madman.”

The Analects, a text that outlines Confucius thought, tells us to follow Li. It describes Li as being responsibility, tradition, and ritual. It is what one does to find their purpose in society. When Confucius is asked what Ren is, he mentions Li being the path to Ren. “Conquer yourself and return to Li: that is Ren,” (Analects, 12.1). For Confucius, the good moral person or Junzi followed Li. Li is learned and taught. In Diary of a Madman it hints at this in the paranoid hero’s mention of hatred of him in the eyes of the children. He states they must have learned their hate from their parents. Hate is the tradition, the ritual taught according to the madman.

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